A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
Biennial Evaluation Report - FY 93-94
Vocational Education--Basic Grants to States
(CFDA No. 84.048)
I. Program Profile
Legislation: Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act (P.L. 98-524), Title II, Part A and Part B (20 U.S.C. 2331-2334 and 2341-2342 respectively) (expires September 30, 1995).
Purposes: It is the purpose of this Act to make the United States more competitive in the world economy by developing more fully the academic and occupational skills of all segments of the population. This purpose will principally be achieved through concentrating resources on improving educational programs leading to academic and occupational skill competencies needed to work in a technologically advanced society.
|Fiscal Year ||Appropriation 1/ ||Fiscal Year ||Appropriation |
|1965 ||$168,607,000 ||1986 ||$743,965,099 |
|1970 ||342,747,000 ||1987 ||809,507,974 |
|1975 ||494,488,000 ||1988 ||798,665,863 |
|1980 ||719,244,000 ||1989 ||825,600,408 |
|1981 ||637,315,000 ||1990 ||844,429,254 |
|1982 ||587,736,648 ||1991 ||848,359,869 |
|1983 ||657,902,000 ||1992 ||940,171,000 |
|1984 ||666,628,758 ||1993 ||962,524,509 |
|1985 ||777,633,758 ||1994 ||955,566,000 |
1/ These amounts include funds provided to the States each year under the Smith-Hughes Act's permanent appropriation. For FY 1965 through FY 1984, the amounts represent funds appropriated under P.L. 94-482. For FY 1985 through FY 1990, the amounts represent funds appropriated under P.L. 98-524 and for FY 1991 through FY 1994 P.L. 101-392.
II. Program Information and Analysis
Following up on its 1991 study of State performance standards systems required by the Perkins Act of 1990, the National Center for Research in Vocational Education surveyed State vocational education directors to assess the status of their efforts as of Fall 1992 (III.6). By this time, all States had implemented more than the required two performance standards and measures. At the secondary level, 44 States had adopted 4 to 10 measures, while 42 States had adopted 4 to 10 measures at the postsecondary level. Somewhat fewer States had set standards, for these measures, in part because they need baseline data.
National Assessment of Vocational Education (NAVE), was mandated by the Perkins Act Amendments of 1990 to conduct an assessment of vocational education programs assisted under the Act. NAVE findings from data collected and analyses conducted over a period of 3 years are contained in an interim and final reports (III.7 and 8).
States are making substantial progress toward development of systems of performance standards and measures, but there has been little implementation at the local level (III.7).
- Most States have gone beyond the requirements of the Perkins Act, developing fuller arrays of performance measures than required and applying them to all vocational programs, not just those receiving Perkins funds.
- Over 80 percent of States expected to adopt secondary and postsecondary standards and measures by the end of the 1992-93 school year; the NAVE final report will provide additional follow up.
- At the secondary level, 37 States apply the standards and measures to all vocational education programs, not just to those programs receiving Perkins funding. At the postsecondary level, 33 States apply the standards and measures to all vocational education programs.
- There is substantial variation in the performance measures being developed across States. Eighty-six percent of States intended to implement measures of special population enrollment and 84 percent intended to collect measures of basic academic skills and of employment in the 1992-93 school year. But only 70 percent of States intended to implement measures of advanced academic skills, 66 percent intended to collect program completion rates, and only 36 percent intended to collect information on awarding of certificates.
- However, most of the new systems of performance assessment are not yet functioning at the local level, and it is not clear how or to what extent they will be used to improve vocational education programs.
- Few States have devoted any resources to training for using the system as a tool to improve programs, and few districts have devoted resources to planning for measures and standards.
- State efforts to develop measures of occupational skills at the secondary level have been weak.
Population Targeting and Services
Consistent with the intent of the 1990 Amendments, NAVE found that funds were concentrated among fewer institutions and funds were better targeted on institutions with a large number of special population students (III.7, 8). However, changes were mixed:
--For the 20 percent of districts with the highest concentrations of special population students, changes to the allocation formula increased the per-pupil award substantially, while there was also a substantial increase in funding for districts with some of the lowest proportion of special population students due to the "consortia" provision.
- Districts with higher concentrations of students from poor families increased their share of the State allocation by about 11 percent nationally, resulting in somewhat larger per-student awards in those districts.
- Between FYs 1991 and 1992, funding to school districts in large- and medium-sized cities increased relative to other districts. For 48 of the 51 largest cities for which school district award data are available, the average award increased an average of 26.5 percent from $1,247,523 to $1,578,029. In only eight of the 48 cities did school districts actually lose funds; these cities are located in four States that had policies favoring the largest cities even more than the current formula.
- A minimum for basic grants to local districts was set at $15,000 to forestall the distribution of very small awards. Districts are allowed to form consortia in order to qualify for the minimum grant.
- Between FYs 1991 and 1992, the number of awards decreased from 7,625 to 3,958; the mean award rose from $44,516 to $99,616. This change occurred because many school districts combined to form consortia; 74 percent of all school districts receiving Perkins funds are members of consortia. Consortia are most common in midwestern States and have fewer students from poor families and fewer minority students than individual districts receiving awards.
- The formation of consortia has resulted in broader participation in Perkins basic grant funding at the district level, resulting in less concentration of funds. However, area vocational consortia or cooperative agreements are likely whereby consortia pass the funds through to area vocational schools. However, because information on allocations at the sub-consortia level are unavailable, it is not clear how much effect this change has had on individual districts. Additional information will be included in the final report.
At the secondary level, the issue of access to vocational education for special population students has become an issue of access to high-quality programs (III.7, 8).
- Special population students, especially educationally disadvantaged students and disabled students, are over-represented in vocational education. In 1992, the 34 percent of all high school graduates who are members of special population groups earned 43 percent of all vocational credits.
- Perkins requires State plans to provide assurances that local districts actively recruit special populations students to vocational education. However, active recruiting may be resulting in the over-inclusion of special population students.
- In some districts, vocational teachers and administrators are concerned that vocational education programs are becoming "dumping grounds" for the hard-to-educate.
- Area vocational schools are often considered superior to comprehensive high schools because their specialized facilities offer a wider array and greater depth of vocational training, but access to these institutions is limited for special populations.
- Many area vocational schools also provide separate vocational education classes for the disabled. While only 4 percent of students at schools with access to an area vocational school are disabled, 16 percent of area vocational students are disabled.
- Although comprehensive high schools with access to area vocational schools send a disproportionate share of special populations students to them, overall, at the secondary level, access of special population students to area vocational schools is still limited because special populations are located in central cities and rural areas while most area vocational schools are in suburban areas.
- A wide range of supplemental services are funded by the Perkins Act, with the main use of Perkins funds typically being to pay for staff to provide these services. Perkins-funded districts already provide more supplementary services than other districts--possibly because Chapter 1 and IDEA funds are also targeted to these districts.
Postsecondary vocational education enrollments are increasing along with total postsecondary enrollments (III.7, 8).
- From fall 1986 to fall 1989, enrollments increased about 15 percent in both vocational and academic postsecondary programs, in part because of higher college attendance rates (from 54 percent to 60 percent) for recent high school graduates.
- At the postsecondary level, almost all Perkins funds go to public institutions. Most postsecondary vocational (occupational/technical) education is provided in public, two-year community colleges (64 percent). Private proprietary schools are the second largest providers (22 percent).
- Postsecondary institutions are more likely than their secondary counterparts to be working on cross-curriculum integration efforts and to be developing new integrated courses. Occupational majors and course prerequisites are also common in postsecondary programs.
- Postsecondary vocational programs also tend to have more special population students than other programs, but enrollments have remained stable. "Dumping" and stigmatization are not issues at the postsecondary level.
- The greatest differences in postsecondary vocational education are between institutions. Proprietary schools and public technical institutes, which are exclusively vocational, have the highest proportions of special population students. Within community colleges, which have lower proportions of special population students, these students are as likely to be found outside of vocational programs as in them.
Basic Grants programs operating during FY 1992 and FY 1993 were supported by funds appropriated for FY 1991 and FY1992, respectively, under P.L. 98-524. Under those authorizations, after setting aside up to five percent of the basic grant award, or $250,000, whichever is greater, for administration, States were required to allot 75 percent of their basic grant for the secondary school vocational education program and the postsecondary and adult vocational education programs. In addition, at least seven percent of the Basic Grant is to be used to support programs for single parents, displaced homemakers, and single pregnant women, while at least three percent of the basic grant must be used to operate a sex equity program. Ultimately, 10.5 percent of the basic grant must be spent for these purposes. Not more than 8.5 percent of the basic grant must be expended for State programs and State leadership activities. Finally, 1 percent of the basic grant is to be expended for programs for criminal offenders.
Seventy percent of the allocation of basic grant funds to local education agencies (LEAs) is based on the LEA's proportion of the State's allotment under section 1005 of Chapter 1. Twenty percent is predicated on the number of disabled students served by the LEA; and 10 percent of the basic grant award is based on student enrollments. With respect to allocations to postsecondary institutions, funds are dispersed on the basis of each eligible recipient's proportionate share of the State's number of vocational students who are Pell Grant recipients, as well as those students who receive assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Perkins legislation establishes a minimum grant of $15,000 for LEAs and $50,000 for eligible postsecondary institutions. For LEAs with a projected allocation of less than $15,000, the option exists to form consortia with other LEAs to operate joint programs and/or services, thereby enabling smaller LEAs to participate in federally funded vocational education programs.
Although the average number of credits completed by high school students continues to increase, vocational coursetaking has been decreasing (III.7, 8).
Vocational education at both the secondary and postsecondary levels can have significant benefits (III.7, 8).
- The average number of credits completed by high school graduates rose from 22.8 in 1987 to 23.5 in 1990. During this time period, the average number of academic credits rose from 15.6 to 16.7 while the average number of vocational credits declined from 4.4 to 4.1. Most of the increase in academic credits has been in math courses at the level of algebra or higher and in science courses except physics.
- The reduction in vocational coursetaking from 1987 to 1990 resulted mainly from more students taking only a few vocational courses and fewer students taking large numbers of courses. Thirty percent of graduates took six or more vocational courses in 1987 compared with 27 percent in 1990. Enrollments have declined most in the largest vocational program areas--business and trade and industry.
- Students whose grades are mainly As and Bs have reduced their vocational coursetaking much more than have C and below-C students. In fact, below C students slightly increased the average number of vocational credits they earned. In short, vocational courses are increasingly being taken by disabled and educationally disadvantaged students.
The Perkins Act has affected local programs. Compared with districts that did not receive Perkins grants, funded districts have taken more steps to integrate curricula and to develop tech-prep programs (III.7, 8).
- High school graduates who complete a coherent sequence of vocational courses are more likely to find training-related jobs, earn more in these jobs, and are less likely to be unemployed over time.
- However, secondary students were less likely to concentrate their vocational coursework in 1990 than in 1987.
- The ratio of first- to second-or-higher courses is a measure of the extent to which students take sequenced vocational programs. In 1987, students took about 2.7 first-level courses for every upper level course, compared with a ratio of 3.5 in 1990. Among graduates who earned at least three credits in one specific labor market area (agriculture, business, etc.), the ratio was 1.7 in 1987, but increased to 2.2 in 1990.
- The percent of graduates earning at least four credits in specific labor market areas declined from 32 percent in 1987 to 28 percent in 1990. Moreover, among high school graduates earning at least four credits in one specific labor market area, 42 percent took at least two of those credits at second-or-higher levels in 1987 compared with only 29 percent in 1990.
- Students with disabilities who take vocational education are more likely to be employed than those who do not. Participating in work experience programs increases their likelihood of finding a job, and taking a coherent sequence of vocational courses increases their earnings. Disabled students with vocational training also tend to have better grades and attendance records than other disabled students and are slightly less likely to drop out of school.
- Postsecondary students who complete non-baccalaureate programs receive more labor market benefits than secondary students, in part because they have more years of education, and because they are much more likely to find jobs related to their training. Based on 1990 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data, 61 percent of those ages 18 to 34 who had attained a postsecondary degree in a vocational field found training-related jobs. Seventy-seven percent of those with training-related jobs were employed the entire two-year period prior to the survey compared with 64 percent of postsecondary vocational education graduates whose jobs were not related to their training. Postsecondary graduates with training-related jobs also had higher wages than those whose jobs were not related to their training--62 percent made more than $2,000 per month compared with 54 percent, respectively.
- The previous NAVE (III.2) found that postsecondary students in less-than-four-year public institutions (which account for almost three-quarters of vocational enrollments) were increasingly leaving school without credentials. Twenty-three percent of graduates of the high school class of 1972 who enrolled in a community college had earned a credential four years after high school graduation--compared with 19 percent of graduates of the high school class of 1980. Thirty percent of the class of 1972 who enrolled in a community college had left with no credential within four years after high school graduation compared with 42 percent of the class of 1980. Data are not yet available on more recent trends.
- The proportion of vocational students enrolled in proprietary institutions increased from 1986 to 1989, while the proportion enrolled in community colleges declined. The growth in proprietary schools reflects a combination of factors: the demand for short-term programs, increased access to Federal funding, and aggressive marketing by proprietary schools. The growth in proprietary schools is significant since these institutions serve disproportionately high percentages of minority and low-income students and proprietary student default rates tend to be high.
- Districts receiving Perkins basic grant funds are more likely than others to report taking steps to integrate the academic and vocational education curricula and to articulate secondary and postsecondary programs. However, these efforts are not well developed, and a key question is how much these efforts represent minor adaptations of existing curricula and how much they represent small beginnings of larger, more systemic reforms.
- Although most secondary school districts report taking steps to integrate their curricula, very little academics are taught in vocational classes, and vice-versa.
- Vocational courses at the high school level tend not to have pre-requisites, a characteristic that increases access, but decreases the chances of aligning vocational courses with relevant academic courses.
- Some Perkins reforms and program improvements such as integrating curricula, adding vocational student organizations and career exploration courses, are associated with increasing vocational enrollments. Based on NAVE's survey of district vocational education administrators, each additional step (based on a list of 10 potential steps) taken to integrate academic and vocational enrollments resulted in a 1.4 percent increase in vocational education enrollments in the district between 1987 and 1992.
- As with academic and vocational integration, tech-prep efforts at present tend to be widespread, but not well developed. Hundreds of tech-prep initiatives are reported by postsecondary institutions, and thousands by school districts. Most are still in the earliest stages of planning and implementation. Most have no students yet; those with students tend to be small, and the definition of tech-prep students is often hazy.
- Tech-prep articulation between secondary and postsecondary curricula is usually on a course-by-course, rather than a program, basis and student participation is often ill-defined.
- Most tech-prep programs emphasize advanced credit for postsecondary institutions, including taking postsecondary courses as a high school student, rather than the development of advanced skills in secondary courses.
- NAVE presents no new information on work experience or work-based learning programs such as youth apprenticeships and co-op programs. While there have been few evaluations of such programs, evidence from literature reviews suggests that the quality of such programs varies.
- Co-op students show a higher level of satisfaction with school than other high school students as well as an improved attitude toward both school and work, but the data on economic outcomes are mixed.
- Studies comparing economic outcomes of students who work during high school with those of non-workers find that those who worked (the majority of whom find employment on their own) have higher wages in the first few years after leaving high school than those who didn't work, but none of the studies control for selection bias.
- Evidence suggests that support for Perkins reforms by State agencies can affect local implementation and that those reforms are positively related to vocational enrollments. Only a minority of districts report strong State support for Perkins reforms, but those districts are more likely to report increased efforts in integration of academic and vocational education as well as the development of performance standards.
Most vocational teachers feel ill-prepared to teach academics, and academic teachers are even less likely to feel prepared to teach occupational principles (III.7, 8).
- Vocational teachers, and trade and industry teachers in particular, do not have the academic background necessary to facilitate the integration of academic and vocational curricula.
- Secondary vocational courses have some academic content, but not much, and that which is taught tends to be basic. Only small proportions of vocational teachers report spending more than 10 percent of class time on most academic subjects.
- The division between secondary academic and vocational systems is still pronounced. Academic teachers are more likely to coordinate courses among themselves than with vocational teachers, and the latter also tend to coordinate among themselves. Indeed, there is evidence of resistance to integration that requires changing long-established assumptions and patterns of behavior. The resistance seems to be stronger among academic teachers and administrators, but is by no means absent on the vocational side.
III. Sources of InformationOURCES OF INFORMATION
- Program files.
- National Assessment of Vocational Education (NAVE) Final Report, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Vol. I, July 1989, Vol. II, May 1989).
- Vocational Education in the United States: 1969-90 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, April 1992).
- Vocational Education: Status in School Year in 1990-91 and Early Signs of Change at Secondary Level (Washington, DC: General Accounting Office (GAO)/HRD-93-71, July 1993).
- Vocational Education: Status in 2-Year Colleges in 1990-91 and Early Signs of Change (Washington, DC: General Accounting Office (GAO)/HRD-93-89, August 1993).
- State Systems for Accountability in Vocational Education (University of California, Berkeley: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, December 1992).
- National Assessment of Vocational Education Interim Report to Congress (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, December 1993).
- National Assessment of Vocational Education Final Report to Congress, Volumes I-V (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, July 1994).
IV. Planned Studies
The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990 authorized a new national assessment, although no funds were appropriated for this purpose in FY 1991. An interim report was submitted to Congress on January 1, 1994. A final report was due by July 1, 1994.
Through studies and analyses conducted independently after competitive awards, the new assessment will include descriptions and evaluations of:
- Implementation studies on administration and practice. The effect of the Perkins Act Amendments of 1990 on State and tribal administration of vocational education and on local vocational education practice.
- Implementation studies on funding. Federal, State, and local expenditures to address program improvement; the impact of the within-State allocation requirements; the effect of funding flexibility on services to special populations; the distribution of Federal vocational education funds to the States.
- General and special populations studies. Participation of general and special populations in vocational education; access to high-quality programs; the effect of statutory requirements on criteria for services to special populations.
- Quality of vocational education. Preparation and qualifications of teachers; shortages of teachers; the extent and success of academic/vocational integration; articulation between secondary and postsecondary programs; effect of performance standards on vocational education; academic outcomes; effect of educational reform on vocational education.
- Employment studies. School-to-work transition; employment outcomes and the relevance of vocational training to occupations; employer satisfaction and involvement.
- Special studies. Coordination of services under the Perkins Act Amendments of 1990, the Job Training Partnership Act, and other Federal programs; vocational education in tribal institutions; vocational education in correctional facilities; involvement of minority students in vocational student organizations.
V. Contacts for Further Information
- Program Operations:
- Ron Castaldi, (202) 205-9444
- Program Studies:
- Audrey Pendleton, (202) 401-3630
[Overview: Learning for Work and Life]
[Vocational Education--Indian and Hawaiian Natives Programs]